THE TARGET: MAXIMUM PRESTIGE
New 2014 arrivals by Hankook, that renew and enrich an already appreciated, by European users, range. Also on prestigious original equipment.
With a deep-rooted investment policy, Hankook is present in Europe with a complete and articulated aftermarket offer for every automotive sector, and supplies original equipment from economy cars up to the most prestigious models.
The Seoul based group, founded over 70 years ago as Chosun Tire Company, is the first South Korean manufacturer in the world ranking. The main production plant of Geumsan, South Korea, is a highly technological structure capable of generating 45 million tires per year, including a series of competition tires as well as for high-end models.
Europe represents over 30% of Hankook’s sales. It is here that the Asian group has focused its attention with its own production centre at Recalmas in Hungary, that by 2015 will reach a total production capacity of 17 million tires / year. This structure produces most of the OEM tires in direct delivery to European car centres, along with the aftermarket ranges for cars, SUVs and light transport vehicles, summer and winter tires, and in the future also bus and truck tires. The firm’s crown jewels are, the tire range for the Mercedes S-Class and the more eco-friendly 220 BlueEfficient, as well as for all BMW 5 Series (including equipment for Mini, 1 Series and 3 Series) and the big SUVs X5, thanks to the mediation of the R & D centre in Hannover, directly in contact with engineers of the Korean group’s partners .The 2014 production forecast for Hankook is about 94 million tires, split between the factories located in Korea (the main factory for volumes), China, Hungary and the new factory opened just last year in Bekasi, Indonesia, a 353 million dollars investment that will be responsible for a production estimated at 6 million tires per year, 70% of which destined to north America. Hankook's global presence, with exports in up to 180 markets worldwide, includes 30 branches offices, seven production facilities and 5 R & D centres in Korea, China, Japan, the United States and, of course, Hannover in Germany.
An opportunity for a first hand contact with Hankook’s new releases, which will be on catalogue in Italy already this spring, was offered by an international preview organized in Spain, under the "Ventus Experience " banner, on the Catalan racing circuit at Castelloli, near Barcelona, giving us the opportunity to put to the test the tires at the top of the 2014 range. Beginning with the renewed Ventus V12 evo ² series, a tire with a marked sporting personality that Hankook has destined to mid-range sports cars. Drawing on the know-how gained in major motor racing around the world, Hankook created a tire that features a tread with a groove pattern characterized by a three-dimensional contour, so as to guarantee maximum footprint in every condition, fast cooling and water drainage, that ensures long-lasting performance in wet conditions. The elaborate design of the tread reduces vibrations and noise at high speed while a styrene polymer compound minimizes rolling resistance. Initially available in a first series of 25 sizes, the Ventus V12 evo ² will be available for rims ranging from 16 to 19 inches, sections of 205 / 255 mm.
Customers who, from August, will purchase a BMW 5-series, will find it equipped with the new Hankook Ventus S1 evo ² range on their own wheels as standard equipment, these UHP tires soon to be available on the aftermarket, were developed in cooperation with the German car maker just to ensure the maximum response to the needs of clients with a sporty attitude. Designed for superior handling the new S1 series continues to emphasize comfort, low noise level and rolling resistance.
" With our experience in the DTM and our Kontrol Technology development philosophy, we have designed a high-performance tire that offers unparalleled driving performance, comfort, efficiency and safety," explains Klaus Krause, director of the European Hankook Technical Centre. Kontrol Technology (a fusion of the terms Kinetic and Control) indicates the interaction between the driver, the vehicle and the road, and is achieved by a combination of technologies that greatly draws from the experience gained in competitions (Hankook is the sole supplier of the German DTM championship). Starting with the tread, able to ensure a uniformed pressure over the whole area of the footprint on the ground, and thanks to outer tread blocks in three layers, as they wear out through contact, they provide high level of grip throughout the life of the tire. Looking ahead to Euro 6 type-approved vehicles, the new compound, obtained by extending the mixing times at reduced temperatures, allowed greater molecular bonds between the various particles of rubber and carbon, significantly reducing rolling resistance, wear and aging. A first series available from this spring, will include models from 16 to 20 inches in sets of 30 to 60, with tread widths from 205 to 305. Keeping all the advantages of this series, and developed with a specific strengthening of the casing by a double layer of rayon fibres, the Ventus S1 evo ² SUV guarantees the same performance even to the most heavy and dynamic sport utility, such as the BMW X5 on which the Ventus is the standard equipment. In this case the tires vary in sizes of up to 22 inches and 315 mm tread width.
Hankook's new Ventus Prime ², Ultra High Performance tire can be considered, by all accounts, a true icon of luxury on wheels. The development in cooperation with Mercedes Benz has created a tire characterized by precise steering even under great cornering force, optimizing the downloaded pressure using a technology called SCCT (Stiffness Control Contour Theory). Asymmetrical design and lateral grooves allow continuous traction even in wet conditions, where the new hybrid compound makes grip easier, while maintaining efficiency in fuel consumption.
Immediately after the launch there will be 55 available sizes, ranging from 15 to 19 inches, with widths from 185 to 255 mm, speed symbols H and Y, with some models also offered in Runflat version thanks to HRS technology.